October 22, 2013

ASU student conserves more than 1,200 Maya burials

Posted: October 22, 2013
ancient mayan ballcourt
View of an ancient ballcourt in Copan.

When anthropology graduate student Katherine Miller first set off to Copan to help excavate and conserve a Maya burial site, she had no idea how vast the scope of the project would become. Since then, she has managed to categorize and conserve approximately 1,200 Maya skeletons.

A UNESCO World Heritage site, Copan has the largest collection of Maya burials in all of Mesoamerica, which Miller found to be in dire need of preservation.

“I found a huge collection of 1,200 burials. A lot of people had worked on it over the years, but it was an uphill battle for researchers to obtain funds to preserve it,” she said. “I kept coming back year after year.”

Miller isn’t bothered by working with burials because, she says, she is conserving what is left and, in a way, giving those people a voice by learning from what is left behind.

“I feel like this is the best respect that we can give to these burials. It’s our duty to learn from the burials since we disturbed them and to conserve them as best we can,” she said.

Soon, Miller will be able to bring the world of Copan to students at the University of Honduras when she begins teaching anthropology there. 

Article source:
Honduras Weekly


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Julie Newberg , julie.newberg@asu.edu
Media Relations